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10 Clever and Creative Crochet Creations

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Those in the craft scene know that you can make anything with yarn and crochet hook. The internet has some extremely interesting projects that you'd never associate with yarn crafts -until you see them, that is. Here are ten finished products we're glad someone thought of.

1. Game of Thrones Characters

The House of Stark from the HBO series Game of Thrones is well represented in a crochet collection from the amigurumi artist known as Kati. There are even direwolf puppies included! Unfortunately for all but one person (or two, counting the seller), this set has already been sold, but you can find more marvelous crocheted creations at Luna's Crafts.

2. Carrie Bear

This is just what it appears to be: an anigurumi (or "antigurumi") crocheted teddy bear depicting a crucial scene from the 1976 horror movie Carrie.

Poor Carrie Bear got a very cruel prank played on her at the high school prom, and now she's really steamed and ready for revenge. Will she use her awesome powers of Telekinesis to pull down the jokers' pants? Or maybe put Saran Wrap over their toilet seats? So many choices... but I'm guessing she'll probably just burn the whole school down instead.

What a wonderful prom gift! Made by Shove Mink of Croshame, this bear is available at Etsy.

3. Green Eggs and Ham

Craftster member The Izz crocheted a tribute to the Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs and Ham. Along with pictures of the verdant victuals, she posted a verse about making them.

4. Hannibal Lecter

Beth and her fiance James B collaborated to produce a crocheted Hannibal Lecter with mask, strapped to a handcart, complete with a tiny bottle of chianti. Watch out, you know he's the master of escape!

5. Skull

This skull desk ornament is about 2 inches tall, available in white or gray. It can be used as a finger puppet or a hanging ornament if you prefer. Etsy seller BethToddCreatz also sells the pattern, in case you want to learn to make of bunch of your own.

6. Potted Plants

Planet June designed and crocheted a series of succulent plants and the pots they live in. She researched the plants to make them as accurate as can be. The different species and pot sizes make up several combinations of patterns that you can purchase to make your own. See lots more of them at Planet June.

7. Box of Chocolates

As Forrest Gump's mama always said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." However, this crocheted box of chocolates contains no calories whatsoever. Red Heart Yarn offers the pattern for this seasonal treat free to promote crafting and, of course, the sale of yarn.

8. Krampus

The crocheted Krampus is another Croshame creation, this one for Christmas. That sentence should win some kind of award for alliteration! At the site, you'll get a lesson on the history of Krampus plus a view of the rear, showing another misbehaving child in his backpack!

9. Roaches

Crocheted cockroaches? These are actually made by a combination of crochet and knitting. Zuperdzigh made a set of amigurumi roaches and gave some of them away to fans who answered the question, "Why do you want a cockroach?" The simple answer is because they're cute when they're hand-crafted from yarn!

10. Anti-Facial Recognition System

How can you subvert a camera equipped with a facial-recognition system? With crochet! Howie Woo crocheted a mask with a series of detachable facial features that make you look more like a cartoon character than a real, recognizable person.

There's a video at his site that shows how the system might work, in which a camera discovers that Woo is addicted to potato chips and has one outstanding parking ticket.

See also: More knit and crochet art.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Opening Ceremony
These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
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Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:


Opening Ceremony

To this:


Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]